Fly the Filthy Skies
What the passenger doesn’t know won’t hurt them… right?
Flying may be the most convenient form of medium-to-long-distance travel for those able to do it, but like all semi-public transportation, it comes with its risks. And I don’t mean crashing.
Humans may be the most elevated species on the planet, but we’re still pretty disgusting. Nowhere is this more true than on any form of mass transit, especially when you’re stuck in the same tiny seat for hours on end, only for an entirely new group of passengers to board 30 minutes later, on repeat, for days to come.
While it’s nice to think cleaning crews rush in after every single flight and deep-clean every surface, that simply isn’t always true. Flight attendants and crew members of Reddit were asked to share their weird and dirty secrets about air travel, and it’s even worse than you think.
Outside Looking In
I’m quoting a fact:
“When a plane lands at night, cabin crews will dim the interior lights. Why? In the unlikely event that the plane landing goes badly and passengers need to evacuate, their eyes will already be adjusted to the darkness.” (flyingrum)
Similarly, why window shades are to be opened. Because it allows you to see outside (in case of a crash) if there is a fire, and to allow rescue teams to see inside as well.
And why seats are to be kept upright and tray tables stashed, so that passengers can escape more easily in case of an emergency evacuation.
Why mobile phones are to be turned off? That one I still don’t get.
Change the rules already. (masterveerappan)
The seat pocket though…
I’m a long haul flight attendant, coming up to six years. I’ve worked short, long and now ultra long haul flying. From economy to first class and everything in between. Obligatory, my opinions are my own and not reflective of my employer and I can only speak for the airlines I have worked on. To me, a lot of it is basic common knowledge.
-Everyone asks about the water and whether it’s safe to drink… To clarify, the tanks ARE cleaned out but it depends on what you define as regularly. Ours go a maximum of a week before being scrubbed out. It’s basic Health and Safety. Also our boilers have filters inbuilt before pouring tea or coffee. I’ve seen people not want to drink the water because it appears cloudy. This is nothing to do with the water and is due to the air pressure. If you tap the side of your bottle/cup, the bubbles will dissipate quickly.
-Please do not ever walk into a toilet with bare feet. I promise you, 9 times out of 10, that is not water on the floor. Also please don’t try and have sex in them, you are so obvious and it is filthy. The toilets are often absolutely disgusting and get deep cleaned only at the end of a route… For us this could be from one side of the world to the other… imagine how lovely they are at the end of a 12 hour flight with 200 people using them.
-There are many dangerous tools on board including, as someone mentioned, a crash axe. Most of the equipment is for survival but will be used if the circumstances called for it.
-For long haul, there are basic kits that certified doctors can use onboard. These include stents, catheters, viagra, adrenaline, IV kits and devices that will literally be shoved down your throat if you’re not breathing. Long haul flying can mean you could be hours away from diverting to a hospital.
-If you’re flying short haul, definitely bring antibac wipes or sanitiser. A lot of airlines will have the crew ‘turnaround’ the plane meaning they pick up your rubbish, fold your seatbelt over, file your magazines in the seat pocket and then welcome new passengers on board. I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to tell people how disgusting it is to change their baby on the tray table or in a seat.
-I ALWAYS recommend you never, ever, ever, EVER use or put anything in the seat pocket. They are cleared of rubbish but are never ‘cleaned’. I have pulled out and seen all sorts been pulled out from there. Dirty tissues, sick bags, knickers, socks, peoples feet, gum, half sucked sweets, apple cores… and then next flight you go and put your phone/laptop/iPad in there. [continued]
What’s in the cargo?
-My particular airline provides uniforms which are, to a certain extent, fire resistant.
-As other people have said, take off and landing is the most dangerous time of flight. Try and sit as close to the door as possible. It’s pretty obvious but they’ve done studies where your chance of survival dramatically decreases with every row you’re away from the door.
-You can, and probably will, be arrested for disobeying crew instructions. Yes, the seatbelt sign is on and we have had a PA indicating turbulence. No, it is not bumpy right now but that doesn’t mean you can get up and use the toilet, you are a grown adult and can hold on for five minutes. Yes, I have seen a passenger crack a vertabrae for disobeying our instructions to remain seated before hitting clear air turbulence.
-On that note, there has been a huge shift recently to pursue and seek the highest amount of damages if you assault or abuse crew. We don’t care who you are, your safety is all we care about. The only thing that tops your safety? Our safety.
-We are trained in self-defense and to defend the flight deck at all costs. We are extensively trained on how to deal with threats – verbal and physical, bomb threats, suspicious articles, dangerous goods, hijackers and other terroristic acts. We have handcuffs on board and will use them if you need to be restrained.
-In the event of an emergency, the pilots priority is not your safety as a passenger. It’s to get the aircraft on the ground as safely and quickly as possible. Aviate, navigate, communicate is their motto.
-Most other people have said it but yes, there is more often than not a lot of horrific things in the cargo. Air travel is the quickest way to transport something from A to B. Usually the only people who know are the flight deck (pilots) and the Manager/Senior Crew member. Dead bodies, organs, blood are obvious ones but we also carry everything right up to Formula One car parts, exotic animals, marble tables, oversized televisions… everything. (HausOfDarling)